Yes, it’s too early to talk Christmas, but since happiness is a year round desire, let’s get into joy and it’s impact on marketing. What can communicating happiness do for your business?
Do you know why Santa sells and keeps on selling?
It’s that jolly spirit, bouncing belly and the rest of the story that culminates into the idea that magic will make our dreams come true. It’s that opportunity to do something that will cause a smile.
But we don’t really need Santa to make special moments happen. After all, it’s the authentic times with family and friends that bring abiding joy. It’s those quiet moments we spend creating something of value that brings a deeper happiness. It’s the giving into another’s dream that brings a reoccurring smile. Happiness, sometimes, shows up when we least expect it in moments of beautiful surprise and honest reactions.
But what does happiness have to do with business, marketing and communicating?
Communicating happiness transforms your ability to connect with others. And business is about solving problems for others. Marketing is about communicating your solution to others in a way that matters to them.
Have you ever passed a mother with a laughing child in her arms?
What do you do? Smile and laugh too. Happiness is a draw, and it transfers. Some large companies are effectively communicating happiness.
- Think Coca Cola and their Open Happiness campaign.
- Consider Folgers. They’ve been communicating connection and joy for years. You remember the commercials of the son coming home from war. Slipping into the house at day break. How does he awake the family? With a fresh cup of Folgers coffee.
If Folgers and Coca Cola can do it, why can’t small businesses? It’s that moment of joy and connection that sells the experience and the product.
Everything—and that includes business and marketing—comes back to communicating meaning. In an article for Fast Company Magazine Nancy Cook interviewed, a Stanford marketing professor, Jennifer Aaker. Aaker says ‘People have an aversion to anything that feels overly manufactured.’1 We are drawn to what is real and authentic. We are also drawn to pleasure and like to move away from pain. Which leads us to consider some things when we are communicating our marketing message.
Acknowledge the pain.
Let your audience know that you seriously understand what they are going through. Let them see you as a part of their community. Yes, we hate pain but we like being understood, so this step creates a connection.
Feature the solution.
Every marketing opportunity is a moment and a thought. Communicating effectively means you finish the thought. You not only understand your audience, you have an answer for them. Your answer can deepen the connection—depending on how you communicate it.
Let’s practice it.
Write down everything that angers or irritates your clients. You can do it like this:
- Take a sheet of paper and fold it down the middle.
- On the left side of the sheet label it pain.
- On the right side of the sheet label it pleasure.
- On the pain side write down everything that your clients hate. If you don’t know, then ask the employees that work directly with your clients. Or survey your clients. Feedback pays for itself—and it’s key to effective strategy.
- Now, flip to the pleasure side and write down the solutions that already exist in your company. Connect each solution with each pain. If their is an unmet pain, then there is room for improvement—an opportunity to connect.
Once you have your list, then choose 2-3 areas to focus on (because you can’t do everything at once). Evaluate your company and make sure you meet those 2-3 needs with excellence. If you do, then you have an opportunity for communicating happiness, because effective solutions, easy solutions, affordable solutions, smart and savvy solutions, friendly and/or fun solutions to our problems make us happy.
1The Business of Happiness by Nancy Cook, Fast Company, March 2011, p. 48
Jamillah Warner (Ms. J) is a writer with a passion for business. She’s a Small Business Expert at SmallBizTrends.com, provides weekly communication quick tips, and tweets business inspiration @jamillahwarner.____
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